Biotech labeling draws increasing scrutiny

by Dan Malovany
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If you use soybean oil, corn syrup or other ingredients derived from bioengineered plants, you should pay attention to the increasing chatter at state and national levels about putting special biotech labels on food products. Already, snack companies in California report that their biggest concern is bioengineered labeling, even though a citizen initiative to label biotech ingredients was defeated at the polls in the November election. Apparently, retailers want to get ahead of the curve on this concern, and they’re monitoring what products have bioengineered ingredients and looking for alternatives that do not. Now, legislation has been introduced in Congress calling for special labeling of bioengineered foods nationally. A coalition of associations — including the American Bakers Association — sent a letter to all House and Senate members protesting the misleading measure, saying it’s not based on sound science, will unnecessarily alarm consumers and provide no health or safety benefits. Moreover, F.D.A. has repeatedly stated strongly that there is no supporting basis for such special labeling. Otherwise, it’s a non-issue that will just waste a lot of money that businesses and governments don’t have.

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